The more appealing a proposal is, the more likely you'll be to win the job. Seems simple enough, doesn't it?
But, creating proposals that are professional, detailed, attractive and on-brand isn't easy. Especially when you're trying to do it quickly.
The good news is that proposal management software can help you speed up and improve the process.
In this post, we're going to look at 5 tools that can help you, as well as explore the benefits and key features of proposal software.
The benefits of proposal management software
Store everything in one central, cloud-based location and access it from anywhere you get online. Assign access to multiple team members as necessary and collaborate in real time.
With templates and automation, creating proposals is much faster. Generate pitches, proposals and presentations quickly and simply, and make the most of opportunities as they happen.
Streamline the entire process
When you can create, collaborate on, approve and distribute your proposals in one neat system, it removes the need for complicated processes that use multiple pieces of software.
Notable features of proposal management software
Searching for proposal management software can be overwhelming. There are so many options on the market, each with varying features.
To help you make the right choice, consider the 4 elements below and decide which would be most beneficial for your situation.
1. Branded templates & pre-filled forms
Proposal creation takes time, but with ready-made templates and automation that allows you to pre-fill forms, the sales process will move much faster.
Even the most basic proposal automation software should carry this feature, but it's the extras—like being able to brand and fully customize the templates—that will give you that professional edge.
If your sales team spends a lot of time in the field, proposal generator software that works on mobile devices could quickly put you ahead.
When a sales rep can input key information while on the road, at a meeting or on-site, a professional proposal can be turned around in days rather than weeks.
Also, being able to give on-the-spot estimates straight from a handheld device means the conversation can progress more quickly. If this is important to you, you might want to consider software that can integrate with or replace your CPQ (computer pricing quote software).
3. Customer relationship management
From the minute an RFP starts to form, a CRM process should be initiated for tracking purposes. The better your sales team is at nurturing leads and following up after proposals have been sent, the higher your chances of success.
Proposal automation software that comes with CRM features will empower your sales team to make the most of every opportunity.
4. Smart reporting
Where time and money are being put into drawing up proposals, the return on investment should be measured. The better you get at analyzing the data, the more refinements you'll be able to make to your sales process.
Some proposal automation software will come with built-in reporting tools, though this could just as easily be managed with a spreadsheet. Software might offer an expanse of reports, but it needs to be easy to learn. If it's overly complicated, it won't be as effective as it could be.
5 proposal automation & management tools
To find the right proposal generation software for you, you'll need to weigh up your requirements against the features on offer.
Consider the 4 elements we've listed above as well as any other functionality you're looking for. Do any of the following proposal management tools seem to offer the ideal solution?
Bidsketch allows you to make customized proposals using saved sections that can be combined to build a full document.
- Templates & reusable content
- Optional fees (for upselling additional services)
- Client landing pages
- Automation & workflows
- Electronic signatures
Proposal management software Nusii lets you personalize templates and track the proposal process.
- Proposal notifications
- Unique branding, domain & email
- Reusable content
Compared with the proposal management tools we've looked at so far, RFPIO is more advanced. It's likely to be a better fit for larger organizations with a lot of activity.
- Import & export data
- Answer library
- Intake forms
- Project management
- Collaboration & commenting
- Recommendation engine
PandaDoc handles proposals, quotes and contracts. It also integrates with popular CRMs like HubSpot and Salesforce.
- Content library
- Brand customization
- Electronic signatures
- Pricing tables
- Collaboration & commenting
Lucidpress is a brand templating platform for businesses that want to align sales & marketing and manage brand consistency, while also empowering their people to customize materials quickly.
Its features include:
- Fully customizable proposal templates
- The ability to lock elements within a template (e.g. fonts, colors, logos)
- Smart fields for pre-filling data like names & contact details
- Automatic data population
- A central storage location
- Real-time collaboration
- Instant digital sharing
- In-app printing & mailing
Using Lucidpress to create on-brand proposals
Of course, we have a favorite. With Lucidpress, it's easy to create quick proposals that are on-brand.
Put another way, Lucidpress is a design platform with brand management capabilities. It's a tool for designing sales & marketing materials, with plenty of additional features that make brand consistency achievable.
The benefits of Lucidpress include:
- One central storage system that's cloud-based, meaning it can be accessed from anywhere.
- An intuitive design tool where templates can be created from scratch or imported from InDesign.
- Templates where key elements (such as logos, brandmarks & crucial text) are locked in.
- Document automation, to save time on tedious tasks like importing data or filling out frequently used information.
- Customization options that allow team members to personalize templates as needed.
- Easy distribution via instant online sharing or an in-app printing & shipping service.
How to create proposals in Lucidpress
To give Lucidpress a try for creating and automating proposal generation, follow the short guide below.
1. Design the template
Build a template from scratch (or import from InDesign) using the intuitive drag-and-drop design tool. Customize it completely to mirror other assets and keep your proposals on brand.
(Not sure where to start? Check out our library of proposal templates for inspiration.)
2. Add smart fields
Reduce admin time with smart fields in Lucidpress. Use them to auto-populate your proposal template with things like names, email addresses and contact details.
When a sales representative begins to customize your template, it'll auto-fill with their details.
3. Lock brand elements
Before you make your template available to others, though, you should lock in the crucial elements.
Fix logos, brand names, and essential elements in place to maintain control over the brand and the way the document is structured.
4. Empower your team to customize
Next, make the template available to colleagues. Give them access to the central document store in Lucidpress.
Teach them how to customize the template so they can generate professional, on-brand proposals in minutes.
5. Distribute to potential clients
Use Lucidpress to share proposals instantly online, or to order & deliver printed versions. It offers a number of digital and print-ready file formats, so you can share documents with anyone anywhere.
The primary benefits of proposal automation software include:
- central storage
- a streamlined process
- the ability to work faster
There are hundreds of proposal automation tools on the market. Before you invest, you need to understand which features are most important to you.
Lucidpress can help you protect your brand and align sales & marketing content. With lockable proposal templates that are stored centrally and easily customized by sales reps, you can streamline and speed up your proposal process.